Gambling on College Sports

In a pretty historic deal, the University of Colorado has signed the first sponsorship agreement with the sportsbook PointsBet. From Front Office Sports:

The partnership includes support for the school’s Scripps Leadership and Career Development Program and will “emphasize and create awareness around responsible gaming and sports betting education,” according to a release, which could be an attempt to ease the negative perception of gambling coming to college sports. 

Colorado’s announcement also stresses that the deal comes at a time when college athletic departments nationwide are slashing budgets due to shortfalls resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and will provide a welcome boost.

Even as US pro sports have steadily began to embrace gambling (after decades of pretending it didn’t exist and simultaneously reaping the benefits), the NCAA has a puritanical stance against betting. Much like the pro sports world, this move is the beginning of a thaw, of acknowledging and legitimizing a massive sports betting market that quietly props up spectator sports across the country. For those who worry about corruption and moral decay, I simply point to (most of) the rest of the world, which has long enjoyed legal sports betting without turning in a circle of Dante’s Inferno.

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